Reflections from London Feminist Film Festival 2016

Melissa Chaplin

london-feminist-film-festival-2016

Doing a PhD that focuses upon creative art, I’m often asked: ‘What’s the point?’ In a world of terrifying injustice, in the face of unbearable pain, what good is art? This question rumbled under the surface at this year’s London Feminist Film Festival, where organisers themed evenings around topics such as: the experiences of refugee women; the right to choose; and women’s bodies as sites.  Throughout the film screenings and following discussion, the value of art as activism was clear.  Where facts might tell you a truth, art takes you by the hand and draws you into it.  Facts can make you think: art can make you feel.

The London Feminist Film Festival has been running annually since 2012, with the goal of supporting women filmmakers, as well as sparking discussion and activism. This year, it took place from 18 to 21 August at the Rio Cinema in Dalston.  I was honoured to be invited to speak at their event centred on issues surrounding Refugee Women on 19 August, connected to the work of the Researching Multilingually at Borders project, of which my doctorate is one part.

There were three films screened that evening: Set Her Free; Women Speak Out! Ntombi; and The Ambassador’s Wife.  Although all three films explored the difficulties faces by refugee women, they took very different approaches. Set Her Free is a short animation, using highly stylised artwork to create a first person view of one woman’s journey, including her detention.  It was produced by the charity Women for Refugee Women. Women Speak Out! Ntombi is part of a series of films by the Women’s Resource Centre, bringing the voices and narratives of refugee women to the forefront, using short interviews.  Finally, The Ambassador’s Wife is a longer film, directed by Dina Zvi-Riklis of Israel, telling the story of an Eritrean woman who, following political events that threaten her life, flees her country to Tel-Aviv.

Set Her Free was remarkable for its use of animation to draw the viewer into the world of the protagonist, Margaret. We see through her eyes the horrors of abuse, rape and detention.  It is almost impossible to cover such intense themes in a film under five minutes long, but the animated piece manages to create a world and story within that time.

The Ambassador’s Wife was controversial amongst the audience, with some questioning the central character’s lack of agency in events that unfolded. The situation of the protagonist was, however, sympathetic, and the film successfully highlighted the way that even someone with every possible ‘advantage’ (education, social standing, wealth) could find themselves in an impossible situation.  The cinematography was beautiful, and it certainly sparked lively debate in the discussion that followed.

Although all of the films were very powerful, I was particularly struck by Women Speak Out! Ntombi. I had the honour of sitting beside Ntombi, who was one of my fellow panelists, during the screening.  Her words, both in the film and in the discussion afterwards, were incredibly moving.  Her testimony about her experiences affected clearly the audience deeply, and I’m sure anyone who watches the interview will feel similarly.  The evening was a potent reminder of the strength of individual narratives to call for social justice.

In addition to Ntombi, I was joined on stage by Sarah Graham, a freelance journalist and communications manager, and the discussion was chaired by Vivienne Hayes MBE, the CEO of the Women’s Resource Centre. The audience members asked some excellent questions, and some of the conversations that developed are available on the festival’s YouTube channel.

It was notable that two of the three films screened were clearly designed with a social media audience in mind. Where people feel some media outlets are failing them, they are increasingly turning to other means of dissemination.  The evening ended with a call for action: to raise awareness; to donate money; and to protest detention.  To take our feelings of horror and sadness and turn them into a force for change.  What good is art?  Watch the films, and you tell me.

@melissarae132

https://melissarae132.wordpress.com/

Researching Multilingually at Borders http://researching-multilingually-at-borders.com/

Women Speak Out! http://womenspeakout.wrc.org.uk/video/

Set Her Free https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA5irTWLixg

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Australia’s Shame is the UK’s Game – Nauru files

By Alison Phipps for The National

I wake up to the news from a tiny island in Micronesia, Nauru. Nauru – coral reef, white-sandy beaches, photographs which make it look like paradise. It is the site of the off-shore detention facility where the Australian government out-source the detention of people who arrive, seeking refuge.

Outside Gosford Parish Church, NSW, the wayside pulpit sign reads: “Hell exists and it’s on Nauru.”

There has been a leak – not of oil onto pristine beaches – but a cache of documents. Over 2,000 files. I am caught between a strange relief that, at last, what many of us have known for years is coming fully to public knowledge, and the same horror which accompanies any report of immigration detention, not least in the UK.

Those who have made the perilous journey from Indonesia and landed in Australia will be sent to Nauru for detention and settlement in PNG or deportation back to their unsafe homes. Australia has not simply sanctioned the detention, in appalling conditions, of children, women and men who have sought refuge, Australia has actively legislated for this practice, against the Refugee Convention, and has made illegal any reporting from within the detention facilities. This includes, horrifically, the reporting or whistle-blowing by medics, of child abuse. As a consequence, in 2015m the Australian Medical Association said it would oppose this legislation. Since then doctors have defied the law to expose stories of child abuse.

When Prof. Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission published the Commission’s report in 2015 The Forgotten Children, she was vilified and asked to resign by the Abbot-led government. The report’s findings included the following:

  • “Children on Nauru are suffering from extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress
  • the inevitable and foreseeable consequence of Australia’s transfer of children to Nauru is that they would be detained in breach of article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  •  Australia transferred children to Nauru regardless of whether this was in their best interests, in breach of article 3(1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Today Prof Triggs is telling leading news outlets in Australia that the cache, published by the Guardian on Wednesday, has “revealed the extent of abuses and trauma on the island” and that it backs up its own review. Amnesty International is saying the need to pressure the government to close offshore detention centers has never been higher and UNHCR is “gravely concerned.”

Of course, we are no better. The ‘dirty-deal’ between the EU and Turkey sends people who arrived from the Mediterranean back to Turkey. In Calais Citizens UK have identified 170 children legally eligible to be reunited with their families in the UK. They are stuck in limbo. Help Refugees UK census in May this year counted 568 children, 74% of whom are unaccompanied.

The UK pays for the maintenance of the hard border in Calais which has effectively become our own Nauru. Questions have been asked repeated in the UK parliament, not least by Stuart Macdonald describing the Immigration Act 2016 as a ‘dark piece of legislation’ in this regard and after his visit with SNP members of the Home Affairs Select Committee. And then there is the roll call of shame of the detention centres in the UK – Yarl’s Wood – with serial reports of serial abuse – Harmondsworth, Colnbrook – with the suicides and deaths in detention. Not to forget Scotland’s only detention centre – Dungavel – where as a detainee visitor I witnessed the shame and misery of so many denied their freedom, including children.

Rod Bower, The Anglican Priest leading Gosford Parish Church, NSW – a site of much campaigning activity against the cruel and degrading conditions in immigration detention in Australia – has said of the Nauru files that “if the protecting of our borders requires the incarceration of bodies, the sexual abuse of children, the rape of women and the murder of men, then we are of all nations the most depraved.”

Hell exists. It is detention.

Read more about the Nauru files on the website of The National.

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The Languaging of Distress

The Senate Room, University of Glasgow

Tuesday 11th October 2016, 9.30am and 4.00pm

This knowledge exchange event aims to facilitate discussion between researchers, voluntary sector organizations and clinicians about the challenges and opportunities that exist in relation to supporting people who are experiencing distress in multilingual contexts.

Aims:

  1. Discuss issues relevant for the languaging of distress in multilingual contexts e.g. disrupted trauma narratives, processes of translation, idioms of distress.
  2. Explore creative and innovative approaches for facilitating safety and trust in the languaging of distress in multilingual contexts.
  3. Provide networking opportunities.
  4. Elicit ideas about questions that could be addressed in future research.
  5. Help promote further the work of the ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State’ (P.I. Prof Alison Phipps)

Format:

  1. Ignite presentations – guest speakers will give brief presentations about the challenges and opportunities that exist around the languaging of distress.
  2. A ‘World Café’ platform – to share ideas and build collaboration between attendees.
  3. A panel discussion – aimed at synthesising key themes.

Speakers include: Prof Alison Phipps OBE (GRAMNet), Beverly Costa (Mothertongue), Norma McKinnon (Freedom from Torture), Dr Alison Strang (Queen Margaret University), Prof Claudia Angelelli (Heriot Watt University), Prof Rachel Tribe (University of East London)

Please register at Eventbrite.

#languagingdistress

This is a joint GRAMNet/ Researching Multilingually event

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Language which nourishes under pain and pressure

at Bristol Food Connections

By Jane Andrews

Bristol_Food_Connections_1

On 3rd May 2016 Jane Andrews, Alison Phipps and Tawona Sithole ran an event in the “Brain Food” strand of Bristol Food Connections Fringe Festival which involved a dialogue between Alison and Tawona under the heading “Language which nourishes under pain and pressure”.   The festival, in its 3rd year, took place over 9 days and hosted events across the city (see photos) ranging from foraging walks, the ’91 ways to build a global city festival’, a street food village, ‘cook and connect’ events bringing communities together and a performance-based public exhibition by artist Nessie Reid entitled ‘The Milking Parlour’ which brought two live cows into a central Bristol location. The full programme for the festival can be seen here.

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Prior to our talk we took the opportunity to join the Bristol Drugs Project Indian Celebration lunch at Hamilton House which was also part of the festival. Over a delicious lunch we learned about the work of Bristol Drugs Project and enjoyed the food prepared by students from the project who had been part of collaborative venture between City of Bristol College and the Community Kitchen. It was a great way of experiencing the theory and practice of how food can bring us together and play a valuable role in our lives.

During our event we used a seminar room in a centrally located venue which is part of UWE to provide a dialogic presentation between Alison and Tawona which allowed poetry to mingle with food reminiscences and academic explorations of food, identities and languages in our changing world. The audience experienced Tawona’s poems and Alison’s stories which were supported by her hand-cooked shortbread biscuits, the recipe for which had been carefully passed on through Alison’s family. We finished the event with some collective activities led by Tawona which resulted in the generation of some shared food related words and phrases from our various languages on our “feedback tablecloth” – take a look at some extracts here:

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The presentation drew on some of the ideas informing, and being generated by, the AHRC-funded research project entitled Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Law, the Body and the State. The project is led by Alison Phipps and the focus for the research is on how, in contexts of pain and pressure, language needs to be used with care but can also provide a source of nourishment. Tawona Sithole works on the project as a poet and playwright in the Creative Arts hub and Jane Andrews is a Co-Investigator working in the Researching Multilingually hub.

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Breaking the silence (again): on language learning and levels of fluency in ethnographic research

By Dr Robert Gibb and Dr Julien Danero Iglesias

Abstract

Ethnographic research is often multilingual, requiring the researcher to work in two or more different languages, if necessary with the assistance of an interpreter. Given this, surprisingly few ethnographers have attempted to discuss in detail how their own knowledge of different languages and their decisions to use interpreters and/or translators during fieldwork have affected the research they have conducted. Drawing on material from our own research, as well as from published accounts by other ethnographers, we aim in this article to dispel some of the ‘silence’ or ‘mystique’ surrounding such matters. More specifically, we argue for the importance of documenting and analysing not only the process of language learning in ethnographic research but also the ways in which levels of fluency in a second or additional language can affect the research process, including the writing of ethnographic fieldnotes and forms of self and other identification. We suggest that a heightened awareness of these issues can help researchers make more informed choices when carrying out and writing up ethnographic research using different languages.

Read the full article in the Wiley Online Library.

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Some reflections on language-related issues in a PhD research project

This piece is reproduced with permission – first posted 6 April 2016 on http://www.glasgowsociology.com

 

By Dr Robert Gibb

(This is the text of a talk given as part of a session on ‘Sociological Geographies’ at the BSA Postgraduate Forum Pre-Conference Day held on Tuesday 5 April 2016 at Aston University, Birmingham.)

Near the start of his recent book Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences, Michael Billig makes the following point about ‘audit culture’ in contemporary universities and other public institutions:

Inevitably, the culture of auditing is not just a culture of inspection and managerial control; it is also a culture of boasting. There are good economic reasons not to be modest or to trust that virtue will gain its own reward. In the audit culture, individuals and institutions must proclaim their achievements vigorously’ (Billig 2013: 24).

Billig is highly critical of the negative effects of this ‘culture’ on contemporary academic life, notably on writing in the social sciences but also on other scholarly activities, including conferences. He would like to be optimistic that things will change, and I would too. Therefore, rather than ‘proclaim my achievements vigorously’ here I would like instead to talk about what I’ve learned recently from one of my ‘non-achievements’ as a PhD student. In so doing, my aim is to raise some questions for discussion about ‘researching multilingually’ (Holmes et al 2013), that is, using more than one language when carrying out and writing up research. In my view, this is an important aspect of the ‘sociological geographies’ we are being invited to explore in this session.

Some years ago, I spent eighteen months in Paris conducting fieldwork for my PhD thesis. I carried out participant observation in the local committee of an antiracist organisation, relying at the start – somewhat optimistically, or naively – on the six years of French I had had at secondary school in Scotland. When I eventually submitted my thesis, how much did it contain about this and other language-related issues in my fieldwork? The answer, as I discovered recently when I went back to the thesis and looked, is: almost zéro. In fact, there are only four places in the whole thesis where I allude to the ‘researching multilingually’ aspects of my PhD work, that is, the fact that it involved the use of more than one language. Looking back today, I view these four isolated comments as potential ‘leads’ to important questions about how I gathered, interpreted and presented the material on which my thesis was based. I didn’t follow these up at the time – that is my ‘non-achievement’ – but I would like to do so briefly now, as a way of pointing to some general issues that we might discuss later this afternoon.

The first of the four places in my thesis where I mention a language-related issue is a note at the end of the acknowledgements section. This includes the following sentence: ‘Unless otherwise stated, all translations from the French are my own’. I don’t go on in the note or anywhere else in the thesis to provide a rationale for the choice I had made to use my own translations (in some but not all cases) or to discuss how exactly I went about translating passages from French into English, any problems I encountered, whether I had asked anyone to check my translations, and so on. Translating is highly skilled work, and given that I was approaching the task with six years of ‘school French’ was I sufficiently equipped to undertake it? If not, how could I compensate for this? I can’t remember asking myself such questions at the time, although I think now that I should have. Perhaps I did so, however, without necessarily being fully aware of it, since in the thesis I did put the original French of longer citations in footnotes.

The second and third passages in my thesis where I briefly discuss ‘researching multilingually’ issues both deal with how my language skills, or lack of them, shaped my reception by members of the local antiracist committee I joined and the different roles they found for me to play within it. For example, I write in one of the passages that:

Initially, my lack of fluency in spoken French meant that I contributed little in meetings although I was able to comprehend most of the discussions (…). However, when a new Bureau was elected [six months into my fieldwork], a range of more informal ‘posts’ was created and I was invited to assume responsibility for co-ordinating the distribution of leaflets.

What I’m doing here in the thesis is alluding to the fact that I gained more confidence in speaking French as time passed, and that in important ways this affected my involvement in the ‘life’ of the committee, my relationships with its members, and consequently the nature and amount of material I was able to gather. However, I don’t go on to reflect on the implications of this ‘developing socio-linguistic competence’ for the process of data collection – and analysis.

The final comment about language in the thesis is the following one in the ‘methods’ chapter: ‘Participant observation is thus required in order to contextualise people’s use of language and to investigate how it both sustains and is produced by collective action’. Once again, I don’t explore the implications of this observation in a systematic way in the rest of the thesis nor do I seek to contextualise my own use of language as a researcher. In particular, there is nothing at all in my thesis about the ESRC-funded ‘language training’ I took in the form of private lessons from a teacher during the first few months of my fieldwork. (The ESRC is the UK Economic and Social Research Council, which funded my PhD.)

An account of my language learning is also absent from my fieldnotes, which I re-read recently too. The latter contain only two passing references to the formal language training I undertook in the field. The first is an entry I wrote a few weeks after my arrival: ‘This afternoon I think I’ll pop out to l’Alliance Française and find out about French classes’. However, no subsequent entry records what happened, and the second – and final – reference to formal language learning in my fieldnotes is not until nearly two months later, when I mention that I was late for a meeting of the antiracist organisation due to having a French lesson immediately beforehand. The fieldnotes I wrote over the first six months regularly contain comments, often added in brackets, about my lack of confidence in speaking French and my inability sometimes to understand what people are saying to me – and, even more frequently, what they are saying to each other. However, I do not record there my language learning ‘strategies’, nor do I reflect in a systematic and detailed way on my developing ‘socio-linguistic competence’ and how this affected the research.

Using more than one language in a research project – researching multilingually – raises many important issues, then. Some researchers have addressed these in detail, rather than simply referring to them in passing as I did in my PhD thesis. Nevertheless, I think that we need to discuss these language-related matters more in sociology (and related disciplines). The examples I’ve taken from my PhD thesis point to the following questions: If our fieldwork requires us to learn and/or use a second or additional language, how can we document and analyse this in a detailed and systematic way? How do we approach translation in our work? What are the implications of being ‘less-than-fluent’ (Tremlett 2009: 65), or of developing sociolinguistic competence ‘in the field’, for the processes of data collection and analysis? Among the other questions we might discuss in the second part of this session are: What do we mean by ‘fluency’ or ‘sociolinguistic competence’ in the first place? What kinds of expectations do researchers – and supervisors – have about this? To what extent, if at all, is support available to a researcher for language training and is the amount of time allocated realistic? If a PhD student is gathering material in a language or languages her/his supervisor does not understand, what issues does this raise for the student, the supervisor and the nature of the supervisory relationship?

These are some of the questions I thought it could be interesting for us to discuss. […] Thank you very much for listening.

References

Billig, M., (2013), Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J. and Attia, M., (2013),  ‘Researching multilingually: New theoretical and methodological directions’, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23 (3): 285-299.

Tremlett, A., (2009), ‘Claims of “knowing” in ethnography: realising anti-essentialism through a critical reflection on language acquisition in fieldwork’, Graduate Journal of Social Science, 6 (3): 63-85.

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‘Vulnerable Participants or Vulnerable Researchers?’ – Reflections from our Arizona Postgraduate Symposium

By Melissa Chaplin and Judith Reynolds

As part of the Project Symposium held at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 14 to 18 March 2016, the PhD students within the Researching Multilingually at Borders project had the fantastic opportunity to deliver a postgraduate workshop involving a small group of graduate students from the University of Arizona. The event was an intimate half day workshop exploring the theme of vulnerability in postgraduate research.

Tucson Campus

University of Arizona, Tucson Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching vulnerability as a theme

We selected the theme of vulnerability in research both because it features as one of the themes of the wider AHRC ‘Researching Multilingually at Borders’ project, and because we felt that it is particularly relevant to the symposium participants, graduate and doctoral students who are just starting out on their research and academic careers. Many of the workshop attendees are also carrying out research involving participants such as refugees, migrants and children who might traditionally be viewed as vulnerable. Our intention was to encourage attendees to reflect on vulnerability in research from these two different standpoints, that of participants and that of the researcher.

In the lead up to the Symposium, we worked together with the Glasgow-based PhD students Maria Grazia Imperiale and Gameli Tordzro to create a short film of reflections about vulnerability in our own research. You can see our film here:

‘Vunerable’ from Gameli Tordzro on Vimeo.

We screened the film at the beginning of the event in Arizona, hoping through this to open up a space for discussion about issues of vulnerability amongst the workshop attendees. We also hoped that by introducing a creative and non-traditional medium for exploration of this theme, we could create an atmosphere of trust and openness.

Creating this atmosphere was central to the activities that were planned for the afternoon. Given the potentially sensitive nature of the theme, we decided on a workshop format incorporating creative elements. Activities and exercises were designed to foster reflections about vulnerability in the research process. The incorporation of creativity into the symposium was also important because of the main project’s focus on examining the use of the creative arts in research.

What is vulnerability?

After the short film screening, and a session of self-introductions, we asked our participants to answer the question: ‘what does vulnerability mean to you?’. The resulting word cloud was fascinating, as it incorporated a wide range of conceptualisations of vulnerability, including both negative and positive perceptions of it. Even at this early stage there were emergent themes including agency, responsibility and honesty. The roles of language, and voice, in vulnerability came out very clearly in the discussions we had about the results. A partial excerpt of the word cloud is presented below.

What does vulnerability mean?

Research participants as vulnerable

We then entered a session focused on views of participants as vulnerable. Each of the attendees drew a picture of their idea of a vulnerable participant, and then drawings were shared and discussed in a feedback session. Again, a wide range of different views emerged, with themes of helplessness, the situatedness of vulnerability, control, uncertainty, and the expectations of society, the academy, and researchers themselves emerging. Here are a few of the drawings, together with the artist’s comments about them.

Research Participant 1

Artist comment: The drawing shows a few different ways in which I consider that people may be vulnerable. The tears of the lady represent emotional trauma that she is suffering. The man is trying to express his anger and opinion about something but is being silenced (the red cross over his speech), so is unable to make himself heard. The child is alone and ostracized, with his or her cries for help also being ignored. The security bars represent lack of freedom (in whatever form that may manifest), whereas the eyes watching from above represent control and scrutiny by external forces – whether that be by the researcher or by some other party.

Research Participant 2

Artist comment: I wanted to represent how one person can be vulnerable in many ways at the same time. The person in the center is content but has no idea he/she is vulnerable. The person on the right represents the the suffering in vulnerability which is usually led by uncertainty. Finally, the person on the left is passionate and does not feel vulnerable, but is positioned as so, therefore, limiting his/her power.

Research Participant 3

Artist comment: I chose a female participant to reflect on a vulnerability. I feel that each participant has at least two, some even more, versions of her story. The dark part of the drawing is the story that she tells, visible to all. But the other side, the lighter side of the drawing is the part she might want to hide or is unable to disclose to anyone, not even to herself. Her red lips are in contrast to the black and white part of her being to represent her passion of wanting to share and to express, but is unable to free the words from her lips. Her gaze is blank but pointed to the ground as if she is looking for a path– an exit or an entry. 

Researcher vulnerability

Our next session was intended to allow attendees to reflect on their own vulnerability as researchers. We asked each person to identify, and bring a copy of, a short quotation or poem which speaks to their own experience of vulnerability in research, or which has inspired them in a moment of vulnerability. All quotations were placed in a hat, each participant picked out a quotation at random from the hat and read it out for the others, adding their own personal reaction to it afterwards. Then the person who had contributed the quote was asked to identify themselves and speak about why they had chosen it.

Quotes were submitted, in several languages, from such diverse sources as Theodore Roosevelt, Carlos Castaneda, and Tina Fey. This activity was intended to allow participants to share something about their own feelings of vulnerability in research. It was also intended to highlight differences (and occasional similarities) between the way in which individuals interpreted the same text, in a consideration of the situatedness of the activity of interpreting a text. Sometimes with the help of some skilful co-translation, this did come out of the activity, and participants also enjoyed the sharing of quotations which meant something to them personally.

Co-creation and vulnerability

Our final activity was entitled “The Story Circle”. In this session, all participants contributed to creating a story together. With everyone sitting in a circle, one participant started off the story with an opening sentence. The storyteller’s voice passed around the circle, with each participant in turn adding something new to the story, until it reached a natural end. No additional guidance about the content or form of the story was given before starting to create the story.

Our story began with the line “Once upon a time, there was a bird who could not sing.” It continued in a fable-esque manner, following the bird’s journey to use dance as an alternative mode of communication, this being picked up upon and popularised by younger birds as a means of expression, and then becoming the subject of study and academic critique in the bird academy. The story featured heavy overtones of satire and parody, and was an affectionate self-mockery of our position as emerging communication researchers. Our discussion afterwards focused on the loss of control and authorship over the story that we as individuals felt, a feeling that is familiar to many students engaged in qualitative research.

A valuable opportunity for reflection

In a concluding round-up, attendees discussed their experience of the afternoon and key points emerging in small groups. There were perhaps two key points that attendees took from the event. The first was that it was helpful for everyone to have been able to reflect on the vulnerability of the novice researcher, and to acknowledge that although vulnerability is an intensely personal matter, it is also something that is shared as an experience by ourselves and our peers. The second was that through taking part in the creative activities of the afternoon, participants experienced a sense of vulnerability themselves which brought home to them how their own students and research participants may feel when asked to undertake similar activities in class or in research. Many of the participants found this reminder, through direct experience, of the vulnerability of the position of their students or research subjects useful.

We are grateful to all of our workshop attendees for their wonderful contributions, without which the day would have been impossible. We and the other attendees feel that the symposium uncovered a real need for a greater focus by the academy on the issue of researcher vulnerability in particular. Indeed, the activities of the afternoon could form the foundation of a future training session centred on researcher wellbeing and/or pastoral care of junior researchers, something that we all felt would be of benefit to postgraduate students.

Sunset in Tucson

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Education and Migration Conference: Durham 21-23 Oct 2016

EDUCATION AND MIGRATION: LANGUAGE FOREGROUNDED

21-23 (Friday – Sunday) October, 2016,
School of Education, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

The purpose of this international conference is to bring together researchers and educators who are researching and working in educational contexts where human beings, and their language(s), are under pain and pressure. Ongoing and forced migration—resulting from protracted civil war, unremitting poverty and economic hardship, and political unrest and ecological instability—often results in the termination of education for some, or entry into new learning contexts for others. This situation of heightened mobility in recent times, although not new, opens up opportunities and challenges for educators and policy makers in considering how languages, too, may be under pain and pressure.

What possibilities and complexities emerge as new arrivals bring their multiple languages into schools and education centres in new communities such as refugee camps, or in established communities in civil society? What opportunities emerge with the arrival of children and adults who bring multiple languages and mobile experiences into the classroom? How can and do teachers and students learn and benefit from the multiple languages present? What opportunities arise for educational practitioners, leaders, and policy makers in building on the presence of multiple languages and their users?

This international conference offers a timely space for interdisciplinary and inter-practitioner and researcher dialogue on these questions, and many more, concerning languages and (intercultural) education in times of migration; and to do so with a specific regard for the implications for the language policies, practices, and possibilities of the schools and other educational institutions where there are increasing levels of migration and amplified multilingualism.

Keynotes

Call for abstracts

We invite papers and panels that address the themes of the conference. Please submit a title, abstract of 300-350 words. Panels (or 3 or 4 participants) should include a title, brief introduction (50 words), abstract for each speaker (150-200 words each). Please include a brief bio of about 100 words for each speaker (include name and institution(s)).

Abstracts of papers and panels should be emailed to languages.2016@durham.ac.uk by 1st June 2016. Please include the name and email of the corresponding author.  Abstracts will be reviewed by an advisory committee and participants will be notified of acceptance by 15 June 2016.

Full information on the conference can be found on the conference website.

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Music Across Borders – upcoming performances

Music Across Borders is a new documentary series created by and directed by Gameli Tordzro to trace the lively stories of how music crosses various borders. It responds today’s migration debates and explores musician’s view on how their music negotiates some of these barriers and impacts on people across the world.

This project is a part of Gameli’s research in Creative Arts and Translating Cultures. This first Episode is abut Katrine Suwalski’s musical journey to Ghana and treats music as language and language as music.

Monday 11th April, film screening: 5.00pm, concert: 7.00pm
Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3DJ (tel. 0141 325 4900)

Tickets are available here.

Tuesday and Wednesday 12th and 13th April, film screening: 6.30pm, concert: 7.30pm
The Glad Café, 1006 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 (0141 636 6119)

Tickets are available here.

I hope you can make it along to one of the performances.  Download flyer here

160330 MAB Publicity

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